Working the wikis at Desktop Summit

UserBase Logo  



What are your issues with our wikis?

What drives you mad?

What would float your boat?

Whatever the issues, come and talk to me at Desktop Summit.  I’ll be on IRC, #kde-www as much as I can be, and I’ll happily join you in a face-to-face brainstorming session for solving your wiki problems.  See you in Berlin!






Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond…. – Part 2

So in Part 1 we looked at where we are now, but what of the future?

That’s where we need your help. What can we do to improve the system to meet your needs? Comments here are welcome, but I suspect that we need a greater discussion.

In the first place I’d really like to meet some people from the docbook team and some from the i18n team, together with anyone else who is interested in progressing their own projects in this way. I would suggest that we book some BoF time and space in Berlin, and have our face-to-face meeting, and it would be possible to follow that up with an IRC session so that those who can’t be in Berlin can hear about our discussions and add their input.

So, here’s the question – Are you willing to help us get things rocking? Let me know, and we’ll look for a session time.

By the way – if you are interested in exploring UserBase’s stats further, you can find the full set in a sortable table at

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond…. – Part 1

This week I was asked whether it was possible to draw statistics on the status of translations of UserBase pages.  In fact it’s very easy to see the status of languages on specific pages.  The language bar shows, beside each language name, a small box, indicating roughly the status.  Hover over it and you will see what percentage of “strings” or “messages” have been translated into that language.  This, though, was not what the speaker was looking for.  If there is any way of getting a status report for every page in every language, I haven’t found it.  When you consider how big that would be, it probably isn’t even sensible to look for it.  Meanwhile, though, I do have some interesting stats for you.  All the stats were gathered on the 28th July.

First we have the four most active languages over the past month:

Of course those four are not the only ones with a good score of contribution.  Here is the Roll of Honour:


The Roll of Honor

You’d think that the languages with the highest number of translated strings might have a large team – and you couldn’t be more wrong.  Team size has little correlation with output, as the next table shows:

Number in Translation Team

Of course, a more realistic measure of activity is to look at how recently the work was done:

Days since the last edit of a language

Worryingly, though, look at the reverse of that:

Have we lost these translators?

So – Where are we Now?

While there is always room for more, I’m happy that we are steadily increasing our translations on UserBase.  On Techbase, the system is still very new, and before it can be as useful as we would like there needs to be some concensus as to which pages can usefully be translated.  I suspect that a glance at the footer, where the “last edited” date is visible, would give some clear hints for some pages, yet there are others where what was written five years ago is still valid and needs no change.  Clearly, then, only the people who know a particular project or process can make that decision.

We have made considerable effort to get a useful system.  For instance, the markup described in our help pages has grown out of long discussions with Blueck and Yurchor, and at times other translators too.

  • The system happily allows translators to work with the off-line tools that are familiar, if that is the wish.
  • We have a HowTo for ensuring that your pages are capable of being created in Docbook format at
  • We are close to having a customisable “Create a Book” where the user can select the pages that are helpful to his own interests and create a .pdf format booklet.

The Next Step?

Read Part 2!

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

Coming to a wiki near you!

UserBase Logo

A week ago Translate came to Techbase.  Since then we have been busy adding pages to help you get started, complete with a bunch of sidebar links. At the moment there are just 23 pages ready for translation.  How many more pages get translated is really up to you.

Why would you care?

TechBase gets some 65,000 unique visitors each month (UserBase gets ~100,000) – and yes, they are genuine visitors.  65,000 visitors don’t drop in just to pass the time – they come in for information, and you can safely bet that a large proportion are not native English speakers.  Yes, the TechBase content is different from that on UserBase, in that much of it is written entirely for contributors to specific projects, but I’d guess that even within projects there are people with a variety of languages – and you can’t guess which language your next volunteer contributor will speak.

What is most needed?

It’s difficult for me to say, but I’d suggest that some areas that should be considered early are

  • How to build packages to use within your distro
  • How to build a development environment

After that, projects could check their own project pages, updating where necessary.  Bear in mind, all the time, that those pages could be an invitation to new developers.  Are they accurate?  Are they attractive?  Many of you are happy writing Mediawiki code.  If you are not, ask for markup help, but get the bones of the matter down in any readable form.  When you are happy that your pages are ready for translation, let us know, either on or on #kde-www.

At the moment TechBase falls short of the quality we would want newcomers to see.  Let’s do something about it.  Let’s make it a goal to get a body of registered translators before Desktop Summit.  If a BoF at DS would help, say so and we’ll do it.

Which pages would be your priority?

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Open-editing experiment failure

UserBase LogoLess than three weeks ago, at the WebWorld2011 sprint, we decided that we should open editing to all, no longer requiring registration.  During that time there has been an increase of spam, but we had a few genuine edits from people who were not logged in, and on that basis we decided that we would simply deal with the spam and keep editing open.  Yuri Chornoivan has taken the brunt of it, because much of it arrives during the night in my time-zone.  Last night, though, the situation took a turn for the worse.

Previous to that, we were getting registrations that posted pages with external links.  They were a nuisance, but easily spotted, and in numbers we could handle.  The last 24 hours has brought a threefold increase, and of a very different kind.  These are all from unregistered users, and consist of content of existing pages being deleted and inanities inserted.  This moves into an entirely different league, and is intolerable.  I have therefore requested that the sysadmins close editing again.

To those of you who used unregistered editing to add useful information, I thank you, and hope you will continue to add your wisdom.  Registering is still a fairly open process.  You do not have to wait for a confirmation email, or even to give an email address, though we do recommend that you do, as there are advantages such as allowing us to re-set your password if needed.  (Your email address is not visible to other users, at any point.)

I’m sad that we have to take this step, but if any of you read Mediawiki mailing lists you will be aware that many wikis are suffering similarly.  I would like to think that we could open editing again at some future time.

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Another year almost gone – so what’s happening to Translations?

A couple of days ago I signed up our 99th translator, and thought about how nice it would be if we could pass 100 before the year end. Amazingly, two more signed up today – so we have passed our milestone! This made me think about the information we have about translators for different languages, and how useful it will be in the future if we can list translators working in specific languages, so I set out to create a sortable wikitable with the information from the sign-up page (which will be archived at the year end in preparation for the next wave ). Testing time.

There seemed to be quite a lot of German translators signed up, so that seems a good place to start. is my table, so click on the Sort icon for Language Code. 16 registered translators for German – that can’t be bad, can it? The translation stats must be pretty impressive. Let’s look at them –

Nice and green for a start – that’s encouraging – but wait! Scroll down a bit! What are those enormous lumps of red? With all the KDE people from Germany is this really the best we can do? Come on, Meine Freunde! Your readership needs you!

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Do you know someone who reads and writes Arabic?

”’?? ??? ????? ?? ??? ???? ?? ?????? ??????”’

”’?? ?????? ??????? ????? ??? ???????? ?? ???”’
”’??????? ?????? ????? ?? ???? ???? ??? ???? ???????”’
”’?? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ??? ???????”’
”’TheRiLi – ????? ?????? ??????”’
”’???? ?????? ?????”’

If your browser doesn’t display the Arabic, or you simply don’t read Arabic, Google tells me that this says:
‘Are you a translator or do you understand the other languages”’

”’Provide Content for the Arabs and take in the races that”’
”’Arabic content increase in the richness of your language of love and peace”’
”’Be gentleman and in the evening and provided us with these pages”’
”’TheRiLi – Arab Society for Linux”’
”’Will be back later”’

Early in 2009 someone translated some pages of UserBase into Arabic. Unfortunately (s)he did so as an unregistered user (which we no longer allow) and so we have no way of contacting him (the main reason for disallowing the practice). To my untutored eye, much of what is there is probably still valid, but there are updates and corrections needed. I’m reluctant to lose this work, which could easily be copied and pasted into the new Translate system, but it really needs someone capable of spotting the things that are no longer quite right and correcting them.

If you know someone who may be willing to help it could either be directly translating into UserBase (and I will provide links to the old pages) or by telling me to delete paragraph “da-di-dah” and substitute “da-di-dah-di-dah”. There are always ways and means – we just need a little skilled help Smile

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

Because we’re Worth It!

We have a brand new face – introducing – ta-da! – Chihuahua on UserBase!

Marvel at the soft modern look, the new Sidebar that gives quick access to Help files, for new readers and for Contributors, see the rapidly increasing number of pages being translated to a number of languages, learn how you can easily get your language represented, find out how to get your application represented, and so much more!….
Oh yes, don’t forget to look for the Easter Egg!
Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

What’s Special about myLanguage?

Increasingly, UserBase pages are beginning to use Special:myLanguage in links, so what is special about that?  Well, it depends whether you are a reader or a translator.

For readers, it will mean that increasingly they will be taken to pages in their own language.  The way it works is that it is aware of the language that you set in your preferences as your root language – that is myLanguage.  If you click on a link it checks to see if there is a page available in that language, and if there is, that page is displayed.  If no page exists, the English one is displayed instead.  Of course, it only works for those pages that are within our new translation system, so we do need help to enable more of those pages, whether by fresh translations or by copy-and-paste from the old ones.

What’s advantage to translators?  Simply that they no longer have to check for the existence of translated pages before deciding how to define the link.  Using Special:myLanguage means that the moment a suitably translated page is available, it will be displayed from the link.  That’s a time-saver.

It will take time to get all pages to take advantage of this, but it’s certainly a job worth doing, and one that you can help with in the odd hours when you need a change from your usual work.

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Akademy-Team Rocks!!

My last day at Akademy, and I’ll have more to say later about the things I’ve been doing, but one thing I wanted to say right now –

the local team are absolutely great, have done a wonderful job, and have made it all look so effortless! and we all know it’s far from that. We can’t thank them enough.

Written by annew in: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Powered by WordPress | Aeros Theme | WordPress Themes

Translate »